In her new single, Dey Rose continues to honor the guitar-driven tradition with chutzpah, which is to say, without the uneasy tokenism modern musicians ascribe to the instrument.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Dey Rose’s material, especially when juxtaposed against the unequivocally indie fare churned by the rest of this label’s roster.
And the crux of that differentiation is pretty straightforward: Rose is a hair rocker with a predilection for late-‘80s/early-‘90s glam, and she’s not masking any of it.
But more than the matter of exteriors and interiors, what she brings to the conversation is her own brand of folk-style confessionalism, and also a hearty willingness to see that candidness through musically.
And, also, let’s face it, her band honors the guitar-driven tradition with chutzpah, which is to say, without the uneasy tokenism musicians of this day and age ascribe to the instrument.
Much of these qualities abound in her new single, the third sampler off her upcoming full-length Evelyn: the Western-gothic-tinged “Without You.”
Originally penned by her father during what she calls his “rockstar days” in Baguio City decades back, the track is purportedly about “the ultimate realization” where one “takes on the mystery of a windy road and keeps moving forward, even if it means doing [something] alone.”
But to my ears, I wouldn’t put it as poetically; I’d simply say it’s a sexy song with menace and teeth: two things her previous releases—the Panting Heart EP, as well as singles like “Puzzle Piece,” “Tired,” and “Hurricane”—lack to a certain degree.
Taking cues from artists like July Talk, Imagine Dragons, latter-era rocker Miley Cyrus, and Billie Eilish, Rose embraces the collision of past and present, of hard and soft, of the analog and the automated. “When I took [‘Without You’] to my band, we added some elements to make it sound a bit more relevant to today’s music [while] still preserving the rock ballad feel of it,” the Vancouver-based singer-songwriter shares.
So, if you’re jonesing for guitar, man, this song has it in spades. I want to say it peaks during Alvin Brendan’s scorching guitar solo, but it’s the interplay of controlled palm-mutes and the tone-volleying between clarity and obfuscation that makes “Without You” a consistently gripping listen.
Rose admits to digging the alt-rock arc she’s currently on, so that’s something to look forward to when her debut full-length drops in 2023.
“So far, it’s a project that is closest to my heart, mainly because it shares [not just my] stories but also my family’s,” she teases.
“Without You” is out today, in case you zoned out of my starry-eyed reverie. You know the drill.